Rural development and panchayats minister Sikander Singh Maluka, who faced ire of the Sikh diaspora in Canada, is also fighting a battle in his assembly constituency with protests, especially against Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) men owing allegiance to him, having become a routine affair for the past over one year in Rampura Phul assembly constituency.
The protest with the murder victim's body at Bhagta that ended on Wednesday, after a case was registered against two SAD men was the latest in the list. Of the five accused in the case, at least three are considered close to Maluka. As the SHO concerned was not willing to book the two, residents had to resort to a protest that resulted in the case against them as well as the transfer of the SHO.
Another issue that has become a botheration for the police administration also , a joint action committee, formed against the attack on and transfer of former principal of senior secondary school Bhagta, Daljeet Singh, has been staging protests since April at regular intervals. Protests have been held in Bhagta as well as in Bathinda on this issue.
Now, the committee has planned to stage protests in villages under Rampura Phul assembly segment in the first week of August alleging that the state government didn't keep its promise of transferring the principal to Dialpura Bhaika school, arresting the accused, who had attacked the principal, and withdrawing cases registered against the protesters.
The principal was attacked by miscreants in April while he was heading towards the school in the morning. He has alleged that those connected with the SAD were behind the attack as they were not happy with the positive changes and transparency he was trying to bring in the functioning of the school.
In yet another case, as many as 15 members of the Dalit community were arrested by the police after a clash ensued between the Dalits and the police allegedly supported by upper caste SAD men in a dispute over possession of panchayat land in Hamirgarh village in May this year. The scuffle between two groups took an ugly turn and the police had to use teargas and resort to open fire in the air. As no case was registered against the men from the other side, the Dalits, who were arrested, are out on bail now.
In another incident, a SAD supporter was shot dead allegedly by PPP leader Lakhbir Singh 'Lakha Sidhana' and his accomplices in February this year. A case in this connection was registered against as many as 13 persons but four of them have been declared innocent by the police after conducting an inquiry into it, reportedly after they promised to be with the SAD.
In another case, some SAD men from the assembly segment had sided with the SGPC that had taken possession of 161 acres of land in Bhai Rupa village in June last year on which a village-run Langar Sewa Society too had been staking claim. Village residents had protested against Maluka when he had gone there to conduct a sangat darshan in January. Maluka, who is in Canada with the SAD delegation, couldn't be contacted for comments.